An Idea Whose Time Has Come

So we were going through our stuff, and came across the drainage pads that I got after my bilateral mastectomy, for the lymphedema in my chest. These are basically two quilted pads that are sewn specially in a way that channels the fluid under your skin downwards so that it can drain correctly instead of pooling and turning your chest into a painful and weird human waterbed arrangement.

These suckers are not cheap - they are at least $80 per pad, and I had to have both the Left and the Right. They are in excellent like-new condition, as I only needed them for about six weeks.

I have breast prosthetics, they are very nice; I've used them twice in half a year, and am unlikely to use them more than that again in the next six months - and that probably won't add up to very many wearings before I won't need them at all. They will be pretty much like new at that point.

I have a scooter. Eventually, for one reason or another, I'm not going to have use for it.

I'm getting a wheelchair lift. Eventually, for one reason or another, I'm not going to have use for it.

My husband and I have side-by-side hospital-style adjustable beds that held together make a king bed, and eventually he won't need that any more and may want a regular bed again.

Let's face it. Most of us who have cancer, and most especially those of us who have Stage IV cancer, end up buying things we need because of our illness - and then eventually we stop using these things, often long before they have become too worn to be useful. Many of these things cost hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars.

And yes, I could sell some of them for a bit, and the person who got a deal will be happy - but the small reimbursement won't be anything near what I put into these things, and won't make a dent in the debt we incurred in getting them.

I would find it MUCH more satisfying to be able to lend them out to other women who are going through the same struggle - women who can't afford a scooter, or a wheelchair lift, or a nice wig, or a good walker, or prosthetics. Perhaps (since this is currently only a dream) a wheelchair van or two. The only rule would be that you have to check in with the item once a month, take reasonably good care of it, bring it back when you are done with it so that someone else can benefit... and hopefully donate whatever you do buy when you are done with that, too.

Yes, this is my dream. And my husband's, too - he thinks it's a wonderful idea.

The only problem is that we live in a tiny house that doesn't have room for the stuff we already have, much less have room for an Cancer Equipment Lending Library.

But if there were someone else in the Twin Cities who happened to have a garage or other accessible storage space who would be willing to house such a thing, please let me know. We'd be happy to help organize and work at such a thing - think of what a blessing it would be to so many people!


Nancy K. said...

This is a GREAT idea, Eileen! Why has no one thought of it before? I wonder if you couldn't get a hospital or clinic to be the site where equipment/supplies could be stored and or loaned out from?

Look at you ~ with everything that's going on with YOU, you're thinking about how you can help others!

You're good people.

I love you.

The Violet Hoarder said...

Have you tried to find a local organization that does on a larger scale what you'd like to do on a small scale? Them you could donate your stuff to them and they could do all the loaning and following up. It's such a great idea--and as you well know--you're not alone in this dilemma of what to do with this stuff. Surely, there's an org. that could help you. What a dear you are for thinking of this in your current state. I'm GLAD you had a great time at the fair...of the fat and cholesterol high of it all!